In reviewing Colson Whitehead's new novel, Alix Ohlin tackles our pop-culture monsters:
We live in an era of rampant overpopulation, ever-increasing consumption, and limited resources, and our monster of choice, today, is the zombie. … Zombies aren’t space invaders or giant insects; they’re not “others” in the way most monsters are. They’re human victims, really, who can’t control what they do.
On a related note, Alyssa Rosenberg reviews W. Scott Poole’s Monsters in America:
The Puritans’ commitment to destroying monsters didn’t stop at self-control: Cotton Mather and others were all too eager to visit bodily destruction on the people who they believed had become monstrous in the country they’d come to subdue. … But there’s no question that America is very good at mobilizing swiftly to absolutely destroy the kinds of things we’ve decided are monstrous, whether they’re New England sea serpents or al Qaeda.